Rising cancer trends worries S.M.A. members

By Alexander Rheeney 03 June 2023, 10:10PM

Increasing incidences of cancer in Samoa and the challenge that it is posing to healthcare providers and the community is a concern for medical practitioners.

The issue was at the centre of discussions at the recent 76th Annual General Meeting of the Samoa Medical Association (S.M.A.) with the discussions shedding light on the issue and proposing practical strategies to enhance cancer care management within the country.

According to a press release issued by the SMA on Friday, throughout the meeting, clinicians and medical experts deliberated on various approaches to improve the quality of cancer care in Samoa. Recognising the need for continuous professional development, participants engaged in informative sessions to enhance their clinical skills in cancer management. 

"By staying up-to-date with the latest advancements and evidence-based practices, clinicians aim to ensure that patients receive the best possible care," read the S.M.A. press release. 

"One key aspect highlighted during the meeting was the critical role of early presentations to hospitals and compliance with follow-up visits in improving cancer outcomes. 

"Members of the Samoa Medical Association emphasized the importance of raising public awareness about the significance of early detection and timely medical intervention. Through community education programs and public campaigns, the association intends to empower individuals to prioritize their health and seek medical attention at the earliest signs of cancer."

Another part of the discussions at the annual general meeting of the S.M.A. revolved around what the doctors described as a "disturbing trend" of cancer affecting younger age groups in the Samoan population.

"Clinical audits conducted within the TTM Hospital revealed a concerning increase in cancer diagnoses among the younger demographic. 

"Recognizing the urgency of addressing this issue, the Samoa Medical Association pledged to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to conduct further research and implement preventive measures that target this age group."

Nonetheless, the SMA said it remained committed to advancing cancer care management in Samoa and added that their recent 76th Annual General Meeting served as a vital platform for clinicians and experts to exchange knowledge, discuss challenges, and propose effective solutions.

"By prioritizing continuous education, raising public awareness, and addressing the changing demographics of cancer, the association aims to 'close the care gap' and provide improved outcomes for cancer patients in Samoa."

Established in 1948, the S.M.A. has played a pivotal role in advocating for the health and well-being of the people of Samoa. With a membership of 136, consisting of general practitioners, employees of the Ministry of Health, medical educators, and overseas members, the association continues to be at the forefront of healthcare initiatives and medical education in the region.

The successful conclusion of the 76th Annual General Meeting and Scientific Seminar marked another milestone in the ongoing efforts of the S.M.A. to improve healthcare standards in Samoa. The association expresses its gratitude to all participants, sponsors, and volunteers for their invaluable contributions towards the success of the event.

One of the highlights of the AGM was the election of the new Executive Committee for 2023 - 2024. Taulealeausumai Dr Titi Lamese was elected as the President, bringing with him a wealth of experience and expertise in the field of medicine. Tuialii Dr Litara Esera Tulifau was chosen as the President-elect for the term 2024 - 2025, reflecting the association's commitment to effective leadership succession planning. Papalii Ulugia Dr Tito Kamu was recognized as the Immediate Past President, honouring his dedicated service during the 2022 - 2023 term.

The newly elected Executive Committee members include Dr Maria Ah Kuoi Lauano as Secretary, Dr Nathan Chadwick as Treasurer, Dr Elaine Sililo Lokeni as Assistant Secretary, Dr Wesley Tuioti-Mariner as the Junior Doctors Representative, and Leota Dr Lisi Petaia as the overseas representative. The Executive Committee also comprises esteemed members Leiataua Dr Lucilla Ah Ching Sefo, Dr Tamara Ah Leong Nowell, and Manufalealili Toleafoa Dr Viali Lameko.

By Alexander Rheeney 03 June 2023, 10:10PM
Samoa Observer

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